Sunday, April 15, 2012


Welcome back to The Shak.

Since hanging the gate, forming the ramp and laying the retaining blocks at the entrance to the courtyard on the 29th of March, I have done little but pass through on my trips to and from the barn.

When I built the gate, I set it lower than the surrounding ground. This helps keep out vermin, but it also creates a low spot. Water being what it is, this could be a problem.
This picture was taken March 29th.
I am not an engineer. I just do things after thinking about them. Having put the problem somewhere in the back of my mind on the 29th of March, I called the solution to mind today.

If I reduce the surface area that drains to the low spot, I can reduce the chance of water pooling there. Toward that end, I made the top of the ramp the highest point in the courtyard. From that point the ground now slopes slightly toward the fences. The only water the low spot should get is what falls directly upon it and the ramp. If ever enough rain falls that it pools, it will do so in a shallow trench along the periphery of the fence.
The highest point is the far corner of the left bed.
From there the ground slopes toward the fence.
How do I know this is how things will work? I removed or added soil; thus, achieving roughly the slope I wanted. This was done by eye using the lower horizontal fence boards as my level. Overall, I removed a lot of dirt to a pile on the opposite side of the building.

Hard work done, I flooded the entire area with the hose. This not only helps compact the soil, it shows me the flow of the water. Once flooded it also showed me where flow ended and pooling began.
The causway is the darker area
 outside of which is the shallow trench.

Another shot of the causeway,
 running from the just visible corner of the raised bed to about a footand a half from the fence.
Using the pool as my level, I threw shovels of dirt into the water. I added enough dirt to create a causeway slightly above the pool following the right angle of the raised bed to about a foot and a half from the fence. What better level than water itself? I tamped the soil with the shovel and added more soil where it had become water saturated. The causeway will become the path. The shallow trench will be sown with runner beans.

Most of the water had drained by the time I finished shoveling dirt and finding the camera. So, drainage does not appear to be a problem.

I also laid some weed barrier. I only mention that because I think these pictures are cool and sometimes I like to mention the obvious. I'll have the courtyard done before planting season.
March 29th

April 14th
Taken with my back against the north fence. April 14th
Thanks for stopping. Come again soon.